Thor: Ragnarok

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Two years after the Battle of Sokovia, Thor has been unsuccessfully searching for the Infinity Stones, and is now imprisoned by the fire demon Surtur. Surtur reveals that Thor’s father Odin is no longer on Asgard, and that the realm will soon be destroyed in the prophesied Ragnarök, once Surtur unites his crown with the Eternal Flame that burns in Odin’s vault. Thor defeats Surtur and claims his crown, believing he has prevented Ragnarök.

Thor returns to Asgard to find his brother Loki posing as Odin. Thor forces Loki to help him find their father, and with directions from Stephen Strange on Earth, they locate Odin in Norway. Odin explains that he is dying, and that his passing will allow his firstborn child, Hela, to escape from a prison she was sealed in long ago. Hela had been the leader of Asgard’s armies, and had conquered the Nine Realms with Odin, but had been imprisoned and written out of history after Odin feared that she had become too ambitious. Odin subsequently dies, and Hela, released from her imprisonment, appears. She destroys Thor’s hammer Mjolnir, and when Thor and Loki attempt to flee through the Bifröst Bridge, she pursues them and forces them out into space to die. Hela arrives in Asgard, destroying its army and the Warriors Three; resurrects the ancient dead who once fought with her, including her giant wolf Fenris; and appoints the Asgardian Skurge as her executioner. She plans to use the Bifröst to expand Asgard’s empire, but Heimdall covertly steals the sword that controls the Bridge, and hides away with the rest of Asgard’s citizens.

Thor crash-lands on Sakaar, a garbage planet surrounded by wormholes. He is captured by a bounty hunter named Scrapper 142, and taken to serve as a gladiator for the planet’s ruler, the Grandmaster, with whom Loki has already become ingratiated. Thor recognizes 142 as one of the Valkyrior, a legendary force of female warriors who were killed defending Asgard from Hela long ago. Thor is forced to compete in the Grandmaster’s Contest of Champions, facing his old friend the Hulk. Summoning lightning, Thor almost defeats the Hulk but the Grandmaster sabotages the fight to ensure the Hulk’s victory. Still enslaved, Thor attempts to convince Hulk and 142 to help him save Asgard, but neither is willing. He soon manages to escape the palace and finds the Quinjet that brought Hulk to Sakaar. Hulk follows Thor to the Quinjet, where a recording of Natasha Romanoff makes him transform back into Bruce Banner for the first time since Sokovia.

The Grandmaster orders 142 and Loki to find Thor and Hulk, but the pair come to blows and Loki forces her to relive the deaths of her fellow Valkyrie at the hands of Hela. Deciding to help Thor, she takes Loki captive to prove her goodwill. Unwilling to be left behind, Loki provides the group with the means to steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships. They then liberate the other gladiators who, led by Korg and Miek, stage a rebellion. Loki attempts to betray his brother to gain a reward from the Grandmaster, but Thor anticipates this and leaves him behind, where Korg and the gladiators soon find him. Thor, Banner, and 142 escape through a wormhole to Asgard, where Hela’s forces are attacking Heimdall and Asgard’s citizens. Banner becomes the Hulk again, fighting Fenris, while Thor and 142 battle Skurge and the resurrected warriors. Loki and the gladiators arrive to help, and the citizens board their large ship; a repentant Skurge sacrifices himself to allow their escape. Thor, facing Hela, loses an eye and then has a vision of Odin that helps him realize only Ragnarök can stop Hela. While Hela is distracted, Loki locates Surtur’s crown and places it in the Eternal Flame. Surtur is reborn and destroys Asgard, seemingly killing Hela.

Thor and the others escape with Asgard’s remaining citizens aboard the Grandmaster’s vessel. Thor, crowned king, decides to take his people to Earth. In a mid-credits scene, they are intercepted by a large spacecraft. In a post-credits scene, the Grandmaster encounters a group of his former subjects, who are still rebelling.

REVIEW:

It seems of all the Avengers, aside from Hawkeye, Thor is the biggest butt of all the jokes, mostly on the internet, but a few time in the movies. With his two films, the right tone for the character just could not be locked down. Perhaps Thor: Ragnarok will be the one to solve this dilemma and give us a solid film for such a major Marvel character.

What is this about?

Imprisoned, the almighty Thor finds himself in a lethal gladiatorial contest against the Hulk, his former ally. Thor must fight for survival and race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela from destroying his home and the Asgardian civilization.

What did I like?

Hela good.

Marvel has been churning out great films, some better than others, since the MCU started. With that said, there is a complaint that seems to be universal among fans and critics. Villains in the Marvel universe just aren’t strong, aside from Loki. Well, Hela has come in and made a name for herself. Not only did she destroy Thor’s hammer, but she took over Asgard, brought and army back from the dead, is pretty much indestructible, and we were given some development to her character. What more could you ask for in an evil, malevolent being…I’m looking at you Ronin the  Accuser (Guardians of the Galaxy)!

Dark World resolution. Thor: The Dark World was not universally loved. It seems as if Marvel wants us to forget about it with as little reference there is to it. Whether you think it was god or bad, the ending of the film needed to be resolved in some way. Loki was masquerading as Odin while the real Odin is apparently on Earth. Thor finds out about this and…well, he’s none to happy. As a matter of fact, this leads to the plot device of this film, now that I think about it. Guess it won’t be forgotten, anymore…at least the final scene.

Individuality. Heimdall has been a pretty badass character in these films…when they give him the chance to do something other than stand guard at the Bifrost. Relieved of his duties, he now saves Asgardian refugees from Hela’s wrath. We also get some interesting individual moments from Thor and Hulk, both of whom have taken a backseat to Iron Man, Captain America, and Black Widow in the Avengers movies.

What didn’t I like?

Surtur. Hela is the big bad of this film (no offense, Grandmaster), but there is another major foe that bookends the film, Surtur. Now, I have a couple of things to say about this guy. First, his design looks like some cheap CGI, but at least its better than Dormammu was in Doctor Strange. Second, as major a force this guy is in the comics, you’d think he would have been more important to the film, perhaps something related to Hela, not counting that “fight” they have at the end. Also, Enchantress could have been brought in and that would have made Skurge’s presence make sense.

New powers. As I mentioned earlier, and you no doubt have seen in the trailers for this film, Hela destroys Thor’s hammer. I was under the impression that Thor’s powers came from his hammer, as was he, apparently. Turns out the hammer was just a way to channel his powers, as Odin tells him. Now, without his hammer, he seems to have developed new powers. The question is, will he keep these new powers, or will they be forgotten come the next film? Also, if he had all this power, why is it just now showing? Seems to me there would have been at least a hint of it before conveniently showing right as Hulk is about to smash his head in.

Hulk. Speaking of Hulk, can we get a definitive decision on his intellect? Sometimes it seems like there is a brain up there and then there are times when he seems like a petulant child. Hulk is a gamma-fueled rage monster with immense strength. Imagine a hyperactive child with that? Oh the horror!

Final verdict on Thor: Ragnarok? Well the lighter tone makes a huge difference! The comedic back and forth between the characters makes a much more entertaining picture than watching them all brood and barely interact. Also, Jeff Goldblum’s over the top Grandmaster would only work in this type of film. The bright colors, bad ass action, and excellent story have many thinking this is one of the best Marvel films of all time. Yes, this is good, but I need to see it again before I can rank it. So, yes, I do recommend this very highly. Perhaps even check it out twice!

4 out of 5 stars

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